Habits to Avoid for a Great Night’s Sleep
Around one in three adults in America don’t get their recommended seven to nine hours of sleep a night and far from being a necessary burden, it is often the result of specific lifestyle choices.
Sometimes, adults cannot help facing the effects of altered circadian rhythms. This is the case, for instance, for the many health care and emergency service workers who work long shifts. In extreme northern parts of Alaska, the problem can be even worse, since in the spring and summer, there can be over 16 hours of sunlight.
Even night shift workers can hone their sleep quality, however, by making a few key changes to habits that can affect their heart health, weight, mental health, and overall well-being.
These are just three habits you should considering eliminating from your daily (and nightly) life.
Failing to Give Due Importance to Bedroom Design
Alaskan soldiers working in the north go to great lengths to ensure their bedroom is completely dark, bearing in mind the tendency of the sunlight to seep in through the windows.
You should also aim to keep your bedroom as dark, cool, and silent as possible. Televisions and gadgets in rooms are another no-no, since they increase alertness and make it hard to fall asleep.
When designing your bedroom, take note of the key pillars of quality sleep, as defined by the National Sleep Foundation.
To wake up feeling energized, you need to fall asleep within 30 minutes of getting into bed, wake up no more than once, and spend no more than 20 minutes awake after you first fall asleep. Your room should be cool and dark and your bed should be comfortable.
If your mattress is over 10 years old, it is probably a good time to replace it. By exploring different mattress reviews you can find a mattress that is firm enough for your needs - particularly if you sleep on your back or stomach.
Side sleepers take note - a mattress containing memory latex foam will provide all your body’s pressure points with crucial support.
Waiting Until Night Time to De-Stress
One of the main reasons why Americans toss and turn at night, is stress. According to the American Psychological Association, three out of four Americans report experiencing stress, with 45% lying awake at night.
The key to effective battling stress isn’t to simply breathe or practice progressive muscle relaxation exercise at night (though these are helpful). Rather, stress should be tackled proactively and long-term, by embracing natural stress busting therapies throughout the day, so as to be in a more mindful, relaxed state at night.
Some of the most effective medication-free stress relieving methods are the mindful practices of meditation, yoga, and Tai Chi - all of which have been found in numerous studies to significantly reduce levels of stress hormone, cortisol.
Believing Sleep Myths
Some of the most common sleep myths can be tremendously harmful both to good sleep quantity and quality. A New York University School of Medicine note that some prevalent, harmful myths include believing that you can get by with five or less hours of sleep, that snoring is harmless, and that booze will help you fall asleep.
Snoring, for instance, can be a sign that you need to see a sleep clinic; the problem could indicate that you have sleep apnea (in which breathing starts and stops during the night).
Drinking alcohol, meanwhile, reduces your ability to enter the restorative stage of deep sleep. When you don’t get enough deep sleep, you wake up feeling tired, cranky, and sleepy during the day.
During the deep sleep cycle, glucose metabolism in the brain increases, which is required for good memory. The pituitary gland additionally secrets key hormones such as HGH - which are crucial for cell regeneration and reproduction.
If you feel fatigued during the day, you have been told that you snore, or you find it hard to fall or stay asleep, visit the experienced professionals at Alaska Sleep Clinic.
It is important to rule out sleep apnea and other conditions that require treatment. Often, by avoiding bad habits and adopting good sleep hygiene, you can eliminate wakefulness or short sleep times but in the case of doubt, diagnosis and treatment by a sleep clinic is key.